An increasing number of electronic products, such as personal com-puters, smartphones, and cameras, are equipped with multi-core pro-cessors. Several processor cores are integrated on one chip. As a result of this integration, space and energy needed are minimized and computing capacity is increased. However, the capacity also depends on how well the software is parallelized, i.e., how homogeneously calculations are distributed to processor cores. So far, programming of applications for embedded multi-core systems has been associated with a high time and cost expenditure. Highly specialized knowledge has been required, as the number of processor cores increases continuously and architectures become increasingly complex.
The ALMA consortium coordinated by Professor Jürgen Becker, Head of the Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) of KIT, has now developed a tool chain that considerably facilitates the work of programmers. It hides the complexity of the hardware architecture and, at the same time, generates a parallel program code optimized for multi-core processors. For this purpose, it uses an abstract de-scription language (ADL) to define the target architecture. The tool chain implements algorithms for parallelization and optimization of a group of multi-core architectures. Among others, the ALMA consorti-um has developed ADL descriptions for the KAHRISMA reconfigura-ble multi-core architecture developed by KIT.
“At the DATE 2014 conference, we will demonstrate programming with the ALMA tool chain from the front-end software to a multi-core simu-lator,” explains computer scientist Timo Stripf of KIT’s ITIV. An appli-cation for image processing will be used as an example of a front-end software. The ALMA project concentrates on the areas of image processing / object recognition as well as mobile communication, but it is also relevant to many other applications. The new tool chain reduces both development time and costs.
ALMA (Greek for “jump”) stands for “ALgorithm Parallelization for Multi-core Architectures.” The project started in September 2011 and is scheduled for three years. ALMA is funded with about EUR 3.2 million by the EU under the 7th Framework Programme. Seven partners of research and industry cooperate in the consortium: Apart from the KIT, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) in Karlsruhe and Ett-lingen, the University of Rennes 1 (France), the University of Peloponnese and the Techno-logical Educational Institute of Western Greece (both Greece) as well as Recore Systems B.V. (the Netherlands) and Intracom Telecom (Greece) are involved in ALMA. The project strengthens the position of Europe on the worldwide market of tool chains for software devel-opment for multi-core systems.
The DATE (Design, Automation & Test in Europe) conference taking place in Dresden from March 24 to 28, 2014, is the largest conference for design automation of electronic systems worldwide.
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